• Miniblog

    I'm getting back into using the miniblog, so make sure to take a look at it now and again. Lots of interesting stuff that I've no angle to comment on but should nevertheless be widely read.
  • DSM

    There's a new wrinkle in the Downing Street Memo saga, and Shakespeare's Sister has the scoop.
  • Today's McClellan Moment

    This gem comes from the June 10th briefing: As I said, the President is always willing to work with those who want to find common ground, and try to get things done and work in a constructive way. And part of that means focusing on how we can all elevate the discourse. The President has elevated the discourse. The President has worked to change the tone here in this town, where oftentimes it becomes bitter and partisan. And, unfortunately, it's tough to kind of kind of crack that.
  • It Just Gets Weirder and Weirder

    If, as the AP is speculating, Sen. John Cornyn gets nominated for the Supreme Court, he'd better watch his back. After all, just a few months ago there was this guy -- a Senator, no less! -- named John Cornyn arguing that it's totally understandable for folks to just be cappin' judges. So Cornyn be advised -- it's dangerous to put on that robe, particularly when you've got an evil twin trying to make the public rise up against you.
  • Good Samaritans

    Pandagon's doing a blogathon for Amnesty International. Check 'em out .
  • Unemployment By County

    Vie Econbrowser, this map showing unemployment rates by county is really very interesting (click on it for full size version): How're Nebraska and Kansas doing so well? Nevada and Texas seem in good shape as well. Ohio and its neighbors, not so much. Oregon's in terrible straits and, let's be honest, poor Michigan. Anyway -- interesting visual of how the country's doing. And with unemployment rates like that, I'm surprised we're not hearing more about Kansas's Democratic governor, Kathleen Sebelius.
  • On Culture

    Even though the whole argument about denouncing/regulating/ignoring pop culture is petering out, I want to quote this Mark Schmitt post as both the best statement I've seen on the subject and a perfect, though far more eloquent, articulation of my views on it: First, this is one of those issues about which the only reasonable reaction is an ambivalent one, and it's fair to assume that many of those who say they're concerned about culture in this way have a similarly ambivalent or complex reaction. That is, they want some greater sense of control on the influences on their children, but they suspect that any legal solution will either be ineffective or will have negative consequences. Likewise with any technological solution, like the V-chip or internet parental controls. That doesn't lessen the concern, though, and parents want to feel that politicians understand that concern. ... Third, avoid "policy literalism." Just because people in polls say, "I'm concerned about sex and violence...
  • Where Is The Love?

    Reviewing John Harris's The Survivo r* , Alan Ehrahalt makes a point worth taking on : Roosevelt made enormous and sometimes reckless changes in the American government and economy, and when his critics loathed him for it, he loathed them back. ''They are unanimous in their hate for me'' he said of them in his 1936 re-election campaign, ''and I welcome their hatred.'' Clinton, on the other hand, was a centrist who undertook no dramatic transformations of society or government and, what was more, showed himself to be an instinctive conciliator who believed in compromise almost to a fault. Ehrahalt is comparing, here, the deep-seated hatred for Clinton with the only "recent" president loathed enough to be used as precedent -- and you have to go back 75 years to find one Moreover, he's right. In 1992, a Democrat who eschewed liberalism beat a Republican who violated conservatism. Republicans should have been bouncing off the walls. Not only did their ideological betrayor find defeat,...
  • What Does Wal-Mart Want?

    You know you're a nerd when your breaks from studying are to write about health policy. But then, I do know I'm a nerd, so no problems on that front. This study break is brought to you by Jon Cohn, who wrote an excellent column on Wal-Mart's attitude towards health care (which is, essentially, that the country should have less of it). They elect folks who cut Medicaid even as their own workers are forced to apply for the system. They stack Congress with pols opposed to universal health care even while they undermine the employer-based system. Odd. As Matt notes, this kinda puts the lie to the current round of claims that business is begging for government-run health care. I say kinda because Matt's brush is too broad. Yes, Wal-Mart, along with a variety of similar corporations, support Republicans who don't like health care. But they're not the businesses pushing the issue. It's GM, Ford, and the like -- the dinosaurs who were giants in the days when unions were strong, and okay'd a...
  • Too Complicated?

    One thing I really don't like about the health care debate is the "complexity test". After Clinton's health care plan failed, in part due to its monstrous incomprehensibility, folks began quickly dismissing anything that hints at being hard to explain. Unfortunately, health care is a tough issue and the policy solutions may end up taking a few sentences. Because of that, we on the left should be trying to make these things seem simple to understand, not bolstering the idea that a solution has to fit on a flash card. So, for instance, if you're ever asked about CAP's health plan , don't say it's too complicated to ever be understood. Say instead that: • The whole country could buy into FEHBP, which is the menu of insurance options Congress uses; • People making less than 150% of the poverty line would be eligible for Medicaid; • Private insurance would still exist for those who wanted it; • And it'd be funded through a small VAT tax, which is a sort of sales tax that every other...